CAM students snack their way to success

April 2014

Final year Culinary Arts Management students have been presenting their healthy treat ideas for vending machines to the Automatic Vending Association (AVA) in the hope that they will win the £1000 cash prize. 

The event took place in Warwickshire on Wednesday 23rd April. Four teams presented their innovative products, in a way reminiscent of Dragons Den, to a judging panel made up of people from across the vending industry. These included representatives from Unilever, Mondeléz and Nestlé. 

The students’ products were assessed on a number of criteria, such as the viability of the products for use in vending in terms of shelf life and packaging, as well as flavour, health and innovation. 

The students had worked in teams over 13 weeks to develop a snack product for areas served by the vending industry: business and industry; education; healthcare; leisure; staff catering and transport. Products developed by the students included flavoured popcorn clusters, a selection of dips and snack boxes based on global cuisine and an all-day breakfast box. The products, made with ingredients including oats, chia seeds and beetroot, and with an average of less than 325kcals a portion, really demonstrated just how much vending is changing. Many of the products were also suitable for those on a nut or dairy free diet, reflecting the growing consumer demand for Free From foods. 

On the day, SuperBoom was declared the winner of AVA’s 2014 Culinary Product Development Challenge, with their highly innovative healthy snack, Boom Bites. Aimed at gym users, Boom Bites, are a low calorie two-in-one combination of fruit and oats. They come in a range of flavours including Black Cherry and Dark Chocolate, Mango, Passion Fruit and Raspberry, and Chocolate Orange. SuperBoom was created by students Sean Smith, Marco Sannio and Rachel Sutcliffe. 

Jonathan Hilder, the AVA’s CEO, said: “The students and their products were outstanding - all the products met the brief and clearly showed how vending is changing. The level of innovation was high and on behalf of the AVA I would like to congratulate all of the teams that took part. Our judging panel of industry experts were highly impressed with the work of the students and the tremendous potential the new products have for vending.” 

Alongside developing the products themselves, many of the teams also created distinctive branding and packaging with supporting collateral such as videos and online content including Twitter profiles and Facebook pages. 

We are extremely proud of all the students this year. The creativity, culinary talent and professionalism they showed for the project was amazing. What a great learning experience!

Bernhard Schumacher, UCB’s Final Year Manager for the BA (Hons) Culinary Arts Management